Overdoses Are Leading Cause of Injury-Related Deaths in California

California Healthline, Thursday, June 18, 2015

Drug overdoses now are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in 36 states, including California, according to a report released Wednesday by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Reuters reports (Kearney, Reuters, 6/17).

According to Trust for America’s Health, injuries are the leading cause of death for U.S. residents ages one to 44.

Details of Report

The report found injury-related deaths decreased in nine states — including California — but increased significantly in 17 states. Meanwhile, the number of injury-related deaths remained stable in 24 states.

Nationally, there are about 58.4 injury-related deaths per 100,000 individuals. Among all 50 states:

  • West Virginia had the highest number of injury-related deaths, at 97.9 per 100,000 individuals; and
  • New York had the lowest number, at 40.3 per 100,000 individuals (Trust for America’s Health release, 6/17).

Drug overdoses were found to be the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S. About 44,000 individuals died from drug overdoses in 2013, which is twice as many as in 1999. More than half — 52% — of those deaths were connected to prescription drug misuse (Reuters, 6/17).

California Findings

The report ranked California fourth in the U.S. for the lowest number of injury-related deaths, at 44.6 per 100,000 individuals.

Meanwhile, California ranked ninth for the lowest number of drug overdose deaths, at 10.7 per 100,000 individuals.

California completed seven of the 10 key injury prevention indicators examined by the report:

  • Child abuse and neglect rates at or below the national level of 9.1 per 1,000 children;
  • Death rate related to unintentional falls below the national goal of 7.2 per 100,000 individuals;
  • Homicide rate at or below the national goal of 5.5 per 100,000 individuals;
  • Having laws that allow laypersons to access naloxone, a drug used to counteract overdoses;
  • Having seat belt laws;
  • Requiring booster seats for children up to age eight, in accordance with American Academy of Pediatrics standards; and
  • Requiring the use of bicycle helmets for all children.

California did not meet the indicators for prescription drug monitoring programs, restricting nighttime driving for teenagers or mandatory ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers, even first-time offenders (Healthy Americans report, June 2015).

Source: California Healthline, Thursday, June 18, 2015